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May 30, 2002

Travelers advised about medication

Travelers should remember their prescriptions and related information, a Pitt expert cautions. "A trip can be instantly spoiled when you realize your medicine is lost," says Nicole Ansani, associate director of the Drug Information Center at Pitt's School of Pharmacy.

Ansani offers the following tips:

* Before a trip, make a list of the medicine you will need.

* Pack your medicine in a carrying case that you will keep with you rather than in a suitcase that will be checked.

* Store medicine in a cool, dry place.

* Keep an extra supply on hand in the event of a layover.

* Have your pharmacist's and physician's phone numbers handy in case you lose your medicine. Also, know the generic name of your medicine in case you need to relay this information to an unfamiliar pharmacist.

* Keep a separate watch with you and have it set to your time zone so you can remember when to take your medication.

* Be sure to pack medicine for common maladies such as diarrhea, headaches, allergies.

* Check with your pharmacist before your trip about possible drug interactions with medications for motion sickness.

* For those who travel out of the country, make sure your vaccinations are up to date. Check the Centers for Disease Control's web site ( to see what vaccinations are recommended for the country you will be visiting or to see if there are warnings about any public health concerns.

* If your medication requires a syringe, carry your prescription with you to ensure that you can pass through airport security.

Also, travelers should prepare for the climate of their destinations. "Always plan wisely," says Ansani. "If you are going to be spending an extreme amount of time in the hot sun, wear sunscreen, preferably a high sun protection factor product.

"If you will be in the woods, carry enough insect repellant and allergy medicine," she adds. "For those prone to allergic reactions, carry an antihistamine (such as Benadryl) with you and avoid unfamiliar foods."

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